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tv   Rock Center With Brian Williams  NBC  September 27, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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tonight on "rock center with brian williams," they pledged their lives to the u.s. military. >> i gave the marine corps everything. >> but were betrayed by comrades and commanders. natalie morales reports on the epidemic of sexual assault in the ranks. >> how many of you were raped while you were servi your country? how many of your assailants served prison time for your rape? also, it's a provocative new approach to education called grit, meant to give kids just that. >> it's really about how do you get kids actually to not only experience failure but recognize that those hard moments are the keys to future success. >> i would say i don't trust anyone who hasn't failed. >> right, right. and kate snow reports on a man who learned his quirks were
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much more than just odd behavior. >> i would silently freak out. >> and turn to a very unlikely teacher for help. >> i have been in therapy now for 16 years. >> you have literally studied howard stern? >> yeah. plus one big secret of jon stewart's success on "the daily show." and how the fifty shades novels have saved a tiny town in maine. >> so the big question is, have you read it? >> you said you weren't going to ask me that question. >> i was lying. >> all that and more on "rock center with brian williams." good evening, and welcome. right now, as of tonight, 1.4 million of our fellow citizens are serving on active duty in the u.s. military. they're serving domestically and all over the world, and after a decade of this exhausting battle tempo and multiple deployments, the debt we owe them cannot be overstated. this is also a very different military, with men and women serving in close quarters together like never before.
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and another reality is there's been an epidemic of sexual assau assault. the pentagon has acknowledged it. they have said they have zero tolerance for it. but until tonight you may not have heard the voices of victims who have been attacked by their colleagues and then often ignored or dishonored by their superiors. our report is from natalie morales. >> reporter: claire russo always wanted to serve her country, even as a little girl she dreamed of becoming a marine. >> why the marine corps? >> when i was 10 and when i was 18 and when i was 23, the reason never changed. they were the toughest. >> reporter: she went through officer candidate school, graduating fourth in her class. her father, ken wilkinson, watched her commissioning with pride. >> he came up to me and said if we have more of her type here, my job would be a lot easier. >> reporter: in november, 2004, this exemplary marine attended
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the marine corps ball at a san diego hotel. she went with her cousin, tom, a navy officer, who introduced her to captain doug dowson, an f-18 aviator. dowson bought her a drink and said he'd take her to a room party. >> you know, things start to get a little hazy. >> you felt like it was more than just having a couple of drinks? >> it was definitely more than having a couple of drinks. >> like possibly you had been drugged? >> yes. >> what happened next? >> really the next thing i remember is being on the ground in the bathroom. he was holding me down and sodomizing me. and at that point i was just crying and begging him to stop. >> reporter: the next day she told her cousin. he reported it to his command and was told to take claire to the naval hospital for a rape exam. but then he got a phone call. >> right as they were taking me back in to examine me, my
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cousin's phone rang and an agent said don't let them touch her. don't let them do anything. >> reporter: that ncis agent was zach paton. although he was assigned to claire's case, he didn't trust the military to handle it well. >> the naval medical center, they didn't have appropriate personnel, training and material for doing the rape kids. >> reporter: so he took claire to a civilian hospital for an exam. and since the assault happened off base, local police could get involved. this proved to be critical, because although paton would present the military with forensic evidence, testimony and photos -- >> it was very apparent that they were going to take no action. >> he said i don't think that the marine corps is going to do anything about this. >> reporter: but claire wasn't prepared to give up, and neither was paton. >> fortunately it was a joint investigation with the police department, so we explored the
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avenue of letting the d.a.'s office take a look at it. >> do you think the military tried at all to prevent your case from being moved to the civilian courts? >> they did say, you know, this is a bad idea. once this case goes to the district attorney's office, claire, we can't help you. you know, we can't protect you. it felt as though there was a desire to sort of intimidate both me and the district attorney out of actually prosecuting this case. >> someone said to me why is she doing this? i said because she's going to stand up and she's going to be counted and she's going to be reckoned with. like she said, if i don't do this, dad, it's just like the bastards have raped me again and again. >> reporter: the civilian district attorney obtained a search warrant for dowson's house. there paton said he and the police found hidden cameras and hundreds of hours of video of dowson having sex with seemingly incapacitated women. and then paton discovered
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something else. just seven months prior to claire's assault, a female aviator, captain naomi bayem who since left the military had a similar incident with dowson. she said she told her command but felt pressured not to file a report. the d.a. charged dowson with claire's rape. he pleaded guilty to sodomy before his civilian trial began and was sentenced to three years in prison. >> do you think your story is an extraordinary story of a case happening like this? >> the only thing that makes my story extraordinary is that i got justice. >> how many of you were raped while you were serving your country? how many of your assailants served prison time for your rape? how many of you felt like you were personally retaliated against? wow, show of hands almost says it all. >> reporter: these are just a few of the women and men who say
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they have been raped in the military. last year more than 3,000 service members reported sexual assault. but according to the department of defense, that's only a tiny representation of the real number, which is closer to 19,000, because most victims don't come forward. and of the cases that are reported, only a fraction are prosecuted. >> i knew joining the military was going to be a sacrifice. this wasn't the intended sacrifice that i was willing to make. >> reporter: in darchelle mitchell's case, the petty officer she says raped her was acquitted and it was her navy career that suffered. >> my request to re-enlist was denied and my assailant, he was advancing in the middle of all of it. >> he was promoted? >> he was promoted. >> my sexual response coordinator basically told me don't expect anything to happen from that. you need to find a way to get over it. >> former air force sergeant
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laura sellinger said her command made getting over it all the more difficult. by ignoring her request to keep her rape private. she said they announced it to her squadron, and she was harassed. >> and i just went to iraq through hell. and now i'm dealing with i'm a slut, i'm a whore. i've never been so hollow. >> reporter: some victims, like former army specialty andrea say they faced retaliation from their own leaders. >> my command told me if i kept trying to press charges on them, they would bring me up on adultery charges. >> reporter: victims say this culture of blaming them and not punishing their rapists leads to more assaults. take the case of kim. she said her accused rapist, fellow marine ross curtis, was allowed to leave the military in 2006 with an honorable discharge and no stain on his record. a few years later, she got a
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call from an lapd detective. >> she asked me, do you know a ross curtis? and my heart sank. >> reporter: curtis had raped a 13-year-old and 15-year-old girl while volunteering at an rotc program for kids. he was sentenced to 12 years in prison. >> had they not tried to maintain the fiction that this man was worthy of an honorable discharge, had they been more concerned about the other human beings that live in the world with him, things would have come out differently. >> reporter: attorney susan burke has filed several suits against the top brass of the department of defense on behalf of sexual assault victims, charging they have been deprived of their due process. >> what all of us expect as americans is an impartial system of justice. we don't know the judge, we don't know the jurors. that's not what is happening in the military. in the military, the commanders get to decide based on their own impressions of the two people coming forward who to believe.
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>> i think we owe all of those who have been impacted, not just an apology, but we owe them the effort to make sure that this doesn't happen again. >> sexual assault has no place in this department. >> reporter: secretary of defense leon panetta says since taking over last year, he's made this issue a top priority, and points to a number of changes, including allowing victims to move away from their assailants, new special victims units, and pushing reporting higher up the chain of command. but he admits for decades, this has been a problem the military has been sweeping under the rug. >> and what do you think of the prosecution rates? just last year, only 240 cases were prosecuted of the more than 3,000 or so that were actually reported. >> yeah, i mean it's an outrage that we aren't prosecuting. >> are rapists getting away with rape? >> look, these are -- these are tough cases, let's understand.
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as a lawyer i look and know how tough these cases are sometimes. but, the fact is we can do this. we need to improve the investigations, and we need to ensure that we have prosecutors who are willing to bring these cases to court and make sure that these people don't get away. sending that signal, that you can't get away with this stuff, is as important as having a leader hit somebody over the head and say don't do it. >> despite everything you've gone through now, how many of you wish you could still serve your country? you have lost men and women who were willing to lay their lives on the line to serve their country and have been forced to pay a very high price for that. >> i guess i want them to know that as difficult as their experience has been, that we are going to learn from that. >> that young patriotic girl who
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was you back then that loved to hear the national anthem and got emotional whenever you would hear it, do you still feel that way? >> i do. i love this country. but, you know, there's a wound that will never heal. i gave the marine corps everything, and it took from me something that i'm never going to get back. >> natalie morales is here with us. first of all, how is claire russo doing? >> she is an incredible woman, so strong, as you saw in that piece. she actually left the marines and she went a few years ago to help the army launch the first female engagement team in afghanistan under then general petraeus and now she's a fellow on the council on foreign relations where she's doing a lot of great work helping, again, with the military and establishing a role for women in the military. >> now, while the military doesn't discuss specific cases, the fact that they did more on this issue this past week is perhaps telling. >> absolutely.
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in fact just this week, secretary of defense leon panetta issued a military-wide directive calling for greater training across all branches of the military for all of the commanders and for the senior enlisted leaders, to hopefully get everybody on the same level so they can start prosecuting these cases more accurately and more adamantly. >> such a powerful story. everybody needed to see it. natalie, thank you, as always. up next here tonight, the story of a man who knows he's not like most other people and has learned to profit from it, in fact. and later, no more trophies for our kids for just showing up on the field. tonight we will preview the new message a lot of educators want to teach our kids. >> is it something grit, character, self control, is that hard-wired or can you teach it into these kids? so, we all set? i've got two tickets to paradise! pack your bags, we'll leave tonight.
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welcome back. we have a fascinating story for
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you tonight about a guy whose friends always thought he was fun, a little different, kind of crazy in a nice way, right up until he learned why that is. the actual diagnosis of what made him different. watch this next story while thinking about the people in your life. and watch this next story as an example of a guy who has worked very hard at being better, while being a bit different. his story tonight from kate snow. >> reporter: it happens in a lot of new relationships. every day you learn something new about each other. it happened with david and kristen. >> dave was quirky. always just very sweet, funny, very funny. kind of nerdy but in a cute, nerdy way. >> very sexy nerd. >> yeah, of course. >> reporter: but once they became mr. and mrs. finch, it was pretty clear to kristen that her husband was more than just
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quirky. >> i thought what happened? you know, it was almost like night and day after we got married. >> reporter: david was obsessed with daily rituals, like his hour-long breakfast routine. >> you have to line up the egg carton. >> i like to line up the egg carton, yeah. >> reporter: every day he had to wear the same clothes, because if he didn't -- >> i would silently freak out. like tension would mount and i couldn't say anything. pretty soon i'd start snapping at people. >> reporter: and every night david would stare out the window at his neighbors' rooftops. >> they all line up. >> so it calms you to see that? >> it does. i have a physiological response. my shoulders relax, my head calms down. it's kind of nice. >> reporter: but it wasn't so nice for kristen. while she took care of the house and their two children, daughter emily and son parker, david was working as an engineer and fixated on himself. and when things didn't go exactly as he'd planned, he'd obsess endlessly.
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>> you know, there was garlic in the mashed potatoes at thanksgiving one year. >> there's not supposed to be garlic? >> absolutely not. i would sit there and complain about it and bring it up constantly to kristen. can you believe it, garlic? then she would get on my case because she would be very confused. it's just garlic in a mashed potato, get over it. she thinks i look like a baby and i think this is completely unfair but i don't know how else to react. >> did you wonder who you were married to? >> all the time. all the time. i just kept thinking i don't know you. >> reporter: things were spiraling out of control. >> i'm almost done. >> i'll just wait. >> reporter: until march 13th, 2008, kristen, a speech therapist who works with autistic children, was doing some research for a client when she came across this quiz online. it was a test for asperger's syndrome, a form of autism characterized by ritualistic
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tendencies and lack of empathy for others. >> the first couple of questions i was like that sounds like dave. oh, that sounds like dave too. gosh, this one sounds a little bit like dave too. >> it's like do you feel tortured by certain clothes, like they're made out of the wrong material. >> as the quiz keeps going and you're saying yes more and more, what's going on in your head? >> holy cow. >> reporter: his score was off the charts. it was a revelation. >> when you did the quiz, you got emotional? >> i did, yeah. >> you cried? >> yes. and i cried because it was this moment of self recognition i had never had before. >> reporter: and that's when david made a remarkable decision after a doctor confirmed the diagnosis of asperger's. he didn't shut down, he did the opposite. >> i really need to be reminded that there's a whole world out there. >> reporter: sharing his story in a very public way. >> confetti shoots out of the computer, the screen starts blinking, it's like you've got
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asperger's, run, run, to a psychologist. psychologists are rappelling down the side of my house, like the autism task force is coming to diagnose me. there he is, i've got a visual. >> reporter: he wrote a memoir which became a "new york times" best seller, the journal of best practices and now tours the country promoting it. it's not a self-help book but a book about his journey of self discovery. it grew out of his efforts to save his marriage to kristen. >> you started writing things down. >> right. >> where would you write things down? >> everywhere. >> reporter: notes to himself. >> there's just millions of these things. >> reporter: scribbled on the back of receipts. >> do not change the radio station when she's singing along. >> reporter: even on the bathroom mirror, reminders to break out of his daily routine and be more responsive to his wife and kids. >> don't buy gifts for yourself and then pass them off as being for her. these were the sorts of things that i needed to remind myself to work on. paying attention to the needs of other people.
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parties are supposed to be fun. >> that was the best, have fun? >> it was having fun. i had to practice it. i had to practice being good, worthy company at a party. >> reporter: for david, that was one of the hardest things to overcome. people with asperger's often have a difficult time in social situations. even before he was diagnosed, he had learned to play roles and mimic the behavior of people who he thought did a great job of fitting in. >> what role are you in now? >> interview guy. >> you've literally studied howard stern? >> yeah. >> reporter: not too many people with consider the shock jock an expert in social interaction, but david says it works for him. he showed us his collection of howard stern videos he studies constantly. >> i have fwbeen in therapy now for 16 years. i'm going to be sincere now. >> he removes his sunglasses. and now what we need to watch here, his voice has just lowered, he becomes a lot more
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calm and relax. look, they're now facing each other. >> reporter: he'll pull out the howard stern tricks whenever he needs them. >> now we're face to face. i'm choosing my words a little more carefully and i'm modulating my voice to kind of match what it is that i'm saying. >> these are things most of us don't think about when we're doing them. we just do them. >> okay. see, that's strange to me that you just do that. >> you have to think about it? >> yeah, i have to be mindful and remember to do. >> it are you reteaching your brain? >> absolutely, that's exactly what this is. it's behavior modification. the great thing, the greatest thing about how the brain works is you can unlearn old behaviors and learn new behaviors. >> you're not curing asperger's, or are you? >> no, and i don't think you should. you are mitigating the more unpleasant effects. >> there are people in the autism community who think you should just live the way you're going to live, right? >> absolutely. >> and not treat it at all? >> and that's a perfectly valid world for you. that's great. they should live that way if that's the way they want to
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live. >> but for you? >> i didn't want to live that way. >> reporter: now four years after his diagnosis, david says he's still a work in progress. he still has a breakfast ritual, but it's much shorter and interruptions from his children are welcome. and both he and kristen say their marriage is back on track. >> he was willing to change. i guess that was why, when we got the diagnosis, that i knew that we were going to be okay, because i knew we were both willing to change to make it work. >> kristen, if you could wave a magic wand and get rid of asperger's altogether, take it out of dave, would you? >> no, never. i love the way he sees the world. it's just a matter of making it fit in with the rest of the world so it's functional. >> yeah. exactly. >> i've heard about the symmetrical rooftops got to me. he said he didn't set out to become a self-help book author but it looks like to me --
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>> he set out to write the story of fixing his marriage and it really is a universal book with universal themes about fixing things about yourself. but it has become a best seller. he's on a book tour. his wife is starting a new website of her own now. he's writing a second book. so it definitely has hit a chord. and actually doctors are prescribing this book to some of their patients, people who deal with asperger's patients and marriage counselors are telling people to read the book. >> next they'll be prescribing howard stern. kate snow, thank you, as always. up next here tonight, how a dirty book has done great things for a small town in maine. >> do you know anybody who's read the book? >> actually my wife has read me bits and pieces until i blushed to the point i made her stop. please, stop. ♪
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[ telephone rings ] how's the camping trip? well, the kids had fun, but i think i slept on a rock. ♪ the best part of wakin' up what are you doing? having coffee. ohh. ♪ is folgers in your cup having coffee. ohh. it's more than just a pet...'s a new world of wonder. at petsmart, the destination for everything reptile. duriing the fall festival of savings, save up to 20% on exo terra® and zoo med® essentials and save up to 30% on select live reptiles. at petsmart®. we know you. we know you have to rise early... and work late, with not enough sleep in between.
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how you sometimes need to get over to that exit, like, right now. and how things aren't... just about you anymore. introducing the all-new, smart-sensing... honda accord. it starts with you. you are watching "rock center."
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we're in studio 3-b here in new york. coming up in a little while, never-before-seen behind the scenes at "the daily show." a look at who really runs the show over there. his name is kuali. he turns 8 years old. verizon. verizon. we're going to go to another chart. it doesn't really matter how you present it. it doesn't matter how you present it. verizon. more 4g lte coverage than all other networks combined. by the armful? by the barrelful? the carful? how the bowlful? campbell's soups give you nutrition, energy, and can help you keep a healthy weight. campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do. so i get claritin clear.
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this is all bayberry. bayberry pollen. very allergenic. non-drowsy claritin relieves my worst symptoms only claritin is proven to keep me as alert and focused as someone without allergies. live claritin clear. welcome back. by now we all know about "fifty shades of grey." while some of the hubbub has
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died down, the book and its two sequels are now the fastest-selling paper backs ever. the book has launched its own cottage industry, and it's been great for business where they make the paper for the book. as we see in this story that harry smith says is more like "fifty shades of maine." >> so the big question is, have you read it? >> you said you weren't going to ask me that question. >> i was lying. >> no, i have not read it. my wife has read it, though. she found it interesting, yeah. >> it's easy to laugh now, but there hasn't been much left in east millinocket, maine, in recent years. once known as the town that paper made, its big mill closed a year and a half ago, and many folks here figured it would never reopen. >> what was the mood around town during this layoff? >> sullen. >> reporter: david, selena and robert all worked at the mill for decades before it closed. >> a small area. there's no jobs here. i mean --
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>> there's a lot of jobs linked to the mill, like truck drivers and all those guys that cut wood and stuff. they were all idle too, so it hurt the whole area. it probably affected 500 or 600 jobs more than just the guys in the mill. >> absolutely. >> reporter: but just as hope had faded and the freezing weather began to sting last october, a company called kate street capital reopened the mill and rehired more than 200 people, including david, selena and rob. selena, a widow, was ecstatic. >> i'll do anything you want me to do. i will help whoever, you know, do whatever. just get that place running and keep it running. it was hard. it was really, really hard. i cried a lot. a really lot. without a job, it's not good. >> reporter: richard is president and ceo of great northern paper. >> what was it like when you were here and people were coming back in the door again to go to work? >> there was a lot of relief on the part of the people that live
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here and people coming back to work. >> reporter: relief and a sense of purpose. >> i know sometimes it's hard for people to understand that are working in other industries, but the people that work here actually love it. it's part of their culture and their family and their history, and they're very passionate about it. >> reporter: and as can only happen in real life, the passion of the paperworkers came along just in time to fill the passionate needs of a certain publisher. one of great northern's biggest customers is random house, which publishes "fifty shades of grey" and its sequels, the steamy hot sex novels that readers around the world can't get enough of. a few months after the mill reopened, the first book soared to the top of the best seller list. random house needed paper. a lot of paper. >> how has "fifty shades of grey" helped ratchet up what you're trying to accomplish here? >> because of the success of the book and its -- the amount of volume it represented out there, which was unusual for a book, it just allowed us to have that
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much extra momentum, that much extra business. >> reporter: while "fifty shades of grey" has quickened the pulse of many a soccer mom, it's also breathing new live into east millinocket. something for readers, buy the real book. no e-reading or downloads, please. >> david, do you know anybody who's read the book? >> actually my wife has read it. i believe she's starting the third. >> she's already on the third? >> yes. yeah. i have not read them myself. but she has read me bits and pieces until i blush to the point where i made her stop. please, stop. >> reporter: but rob farington says there is no shame in what they produce. maybe there's even a little pride. >> the wife is going to get her copy probably next week. i feel like i'm not as big a pornographer as larry flynt, but if we can make 'em, she can read
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'em. works for me. >> it almost seems like it's your civic duty. >> yes, yes. don't bite the hand that feeds. >> would you as a group want to encourage america to buy as many copies of this book as humanly possible? >> definitely, definitely. all three volumes. >> there's nothing like the feel of a book in your hands. >> reporter: and david has a suggestion when it comes to casting the movie. mark is a town selectman for east millinocket. >> what does it mean for east millinocket that this paper mill is open again? >> it's a one-horse town. without it, we are looking at the tumbleweeds going down main street. now all of a sudden there are cars again. that's what it means. >> reporter: he'd prefer they still be known as the town paper made, not mommy porn. >> what we want the industry to
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know is we still put out a quality product again. who knows, maybe we can land the bible next time. >> that's fantastic. first of all, harry smith, i have been to east millinocket. those are good, hard-working, modest people up there. you went around asking everybody if they were reading a dirty book. so, harry smith, the question to you, sir. have you read either one, two or three or all three? >> i felt like it was my journalistic responsibility. >> oh, here we go. >> to try to read the book. i kept falling asleep. >> wow. that's a whole different show. that's a whole dr. phil, which is on on a different day. >> but on good authority from the folks at the mill, they say go to page 120 and that's when it gets interesting. >> i'm just going to -- this does not -- >> you need to have your own copy. >> this doesn't imply i'm going to read it. i'm just accepting a gift from harry smith just back from east millinocket, maine. thank you very much. we'll take a break.
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coming up next, something new in our schools where cpa, character point average, is joining gpa. and how things aren't... just about you anymore. introducing the all-new, smart-sensing... honda accord. it starts with you. it's more than just a pet...'s a new world of wonder. at petsmart, the destination for everything reptile. duriing the fall festival of savings, save up to 20% on exo terra® and zoo med® essentials and save up to 30% on select live reptiles. at petsmart®. [ telephone rings ] how's the camping trip? well, the kids had fun, but i think i slept on a rock.
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welcome back. this past week here in new york, we wrapped up our third annual education nation summit. it's a discussion nbc news is very proud to host. every year we're reminded of some of the bad news out there, like the fact that reading scores for the s.a.t.s just hit a 40-year low. but we also get to hear what's new, including how they are teaching a virtue that's been around a long time and coming back now in a big way. amid all the talk about education right now, standardized testing, teacher performance, the newest and maybe the simplest new idea involves taking something most of these kids already have, turning around and teaching it right back to them.
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and while it means a lot of things, the shorthand for it is a word we all know that means just what you think it means. >> what is grit? >> grit is the combination of persistence and resilience. so grit is being able to keep going through challenges and str struggles. that's the persistence part. the resilience, when you get knocked down, you bounce back up. >> these two men are among the primary drivers of the grit movement. dave levin is co-pounder of kipp, a network of innovative public charter schools serving low-income city kids. dominic randolph is the headmaster of riverdale country school. a prestigious private school in a leafier section of new york city. these two leaders have joined together to develop what they call character education. their message is character skills are crucial. they're just as important for kids from tough backgrounds as they are kids from well-off families.
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but fair warning to the kids and their parents who have been a part of the so-called trophy generation. this new movement might come as a big shock in a society that has valued self-esteem above all else. >> you can do it. >> you can do anything. >> one that's been perfectly skewered by snl. >> my self-esteem is through the roof because nobody has ever been honest with me about how mediocre i am. >> what if someone were to be honest with you? >> i would immediately cry. >> when i started teaching in the '90s, there was a sense that everyone had to be rewarded. where people didn't want kids to experience failure. when you enter the work world, it isn't all, you know, blue ribbons and it isn't all everyone is equal. >> and i think we as a country, as a world face enormous challenges. we just have to make sure that kids and adults have the type of capacities in order to face up to those challenges. >> how do you get kids actually to not only experience failure,
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but recognize that those hard moments are the keys to future success. >> i always say i don't trust anyone who hasn't failed. >> right, right. >> and the kids we met here at kipp already get it. >> do you think it's important to fail? >> it is. >> why? why is it important to fail? >> it's important to fail because like we all know that we're not perfect. we make mistakes every single day. and that's something that we grow -- like we grow from that. if we were all born perfect and we never made mistakes, we wouldn't be able to experience pain and struggle, and struggle leads to success. >> i will keep this -- >> in most kipp classrooms they found a way to work grit into the lesson plans. the idea of struggle and character and determination. in this case, back in the depression era. >> why is the great depression one of the ultimate grit events in american history? >> and down the hall in the
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science classroom, the normally giggle-indeu giggle-inducing topic of human reproduction turns into a lesson of self control. >> even though there might be some funny stuff here, you know, being able to control the laughing and bringing it back is just as important as any other skill you might ever have in your life. >> self control which is often in really short supply in our society has been proven to be a marker for success later in life. psychologists famously proved that years ago in the hidden camera marshmallow test, one of which is shown here. kids are offered the temptation, the instant gratification of a marshmallow while they're promised seconds if they can just hold off from ringing the bell. >> if you can stay here and wait for me to come back without eating the marshmallow, then you get two marshmallows. >> the kids who were able to marshal their marshmallow self-control and hold out for
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seconds, would later score about 200 points higher on their s.a.t.s than the kids who gave in. it might just be a marshmallow, it's also a bit of grit in action. >> interesting thing about the marshmallow test, the kids who succeeded at not eating the marshmallows, didn't sit there and stare at the marshmallow. they found something to do to distract themselves. >> one little girl in the test uses her one arm to fight off the other. she's just 4 years old. and knowing that makes you wonder if she was just born with that kind of self control. >> can it be taught? is it something -- is grit, character, self control, is that hard-wired or can you teach it into these kids? >> you can definitely teach character. you can definitely teach the behaviors that go along with each of the strengths. >> at kipp, they have taken it a step further. the kids here get graded on character. you've heard of a gpa. these kids all receive a cpa, a character point average.
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and we were there when 14-year-old jolissa learned her results. >> what needs improvement? >> self control. sometimes i'll get upset. other times i'll be able to control myself and be like, okay, i know why they're doing this. >> 13-year-old taia told she needs to work on your attitude. >> what's wrong with your attitude? >> i don't like people telling me what to do so i get, like, defensive and it goes all downhill from there. >> school is a bad place like not to like to be told -- >> i don't know, it's just a reaction. >> she proudly reports her cpa has improved. >> they teach us here like how to act, like our manners, how to act towards people. because if you don't treat people with respect, then they won't give it back to you. so like that's just how life is. >> let's be really provocative. you educate rich kids, you educate poor kids. obviously around margins, that
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can't be a blanket statement but it's pretty true. what's going to be the difference if i hire one of each after you as educators are done with them? >> when you think about strengths like grit, like overcoming failure, the lack of financial resources sets up a series of roadblocks from a very young age. i think life circumstances also give kids an opportunity, force kids to develop character. >> you can't create failures for riverdale kids that are going to be character lessons, so what do you do if your kids have just had it better? >> right, yeah. i think the kids who are very privileged, i think that you can actually bake into a school culture moments where they do fail, where they do find out thatth not as easy. >> these two educators hope to provide a model for every school and every child all across the country. they also realize they're up against a lot of parents who
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don't want to hear a lot of talk about failure, and much prefer as and bs for their kids over the grittier reality of cs and ds. >> you have the average grade, you know, in america is around a b. i think for -- that's not giving people clear feedback and it's not allowing them to say, okay, it's all right, you've got a d. now what are you going to do about it? what they are going to be about it is really the interesting thing. we don't have enough opportunity, i think, in both of our schools to allow that to happen. >> there's probably families in oak park, illinois, watching who say this is all great, back to s.a.t. prep for my kid because he's going to dartmouth. do you ever see a day where character will be ranked -- >> yes. cpa next to gpa. yes. >> both men say that grit, character education, has raised academic performance. while there's no data to back that up, the proof, they say, can be heard in the voices of
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the students, starting with taia who very proudly was able to work her way up to the first chair in the school orchestra. >> it feels good to be first chair. like you know people are looking at you and you have to lead them in a good way. >> how many first chairs are there? there's just one, right? only one person can have that role. so that means that you worked hard for something. >> our thanks to everybody involved, especially the educators and the kids at kipp academy and riverdale country school. up next, as we continue tonight, behind the scenes at "the daily show." they just won their tenth emmy. they generally seem happier because of the rest of us. could it be because of who they're allowed to bring to work?
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they do comedy for a living and they do it very well, mostly by making fun of the rest of us. the employees at "the daily show" with jon stewart have huge advantages, beginning with the fact that they get to work at "the daily show" but also because they get to bring their dogs. it gives some of us a reason to look forward to our visits to "the daily show" and their staff members were recently all too happy to show us what happiness at work really looks like. >> come here. ready to go? >> my name is ken greenberg and this is my dog, ally. >> i'm jen flanz. this is my dog, parker. >> my name is justin. i am headed to work at "the daily show" and i'm going with my dog, kweli. he comes with me because he comes everywhere that i can take him. >> i wanted a dog for a long time and working here definitely
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made it much more possible. >> the dogs that get to come to this office have won the dog lottery. >> especially for these three, they were all shelter dogs. >> ally was found tied to a tree somewhere down in virginia, and now she has her own office. >> hopefully going to be one act, possibly two with a chat. >> i don't find that they're distracting at all. >> i think there are people here who don't like dogs and don't vocalize it. i think they hide in shame. >> i definitely see some people who are indifferent to them. which i find suspicious. >> you know, i love everybody. i love everybody. stranger. >> stranger is the best. >> that dog is going to have his own show soon. >> have you met zuzu? zuzu growled? i didn't think that was growling.
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>> i think of the dogs like varying levels of cool. this one is a little nerdy and this one is like a superstar but doesn't have much to say. >> totally. >> kweli is the king i feel like. >> he is definitely the king. >> brian also loves kweli. >> please welcome back to the program, brian williams. ♪ at last my love has come along ♪ >> your relationship with kweli creeps everyone in the building out. >> i often hear from across the office, jon yelling out, i love you, ally greenberg. >> this is ally greenberg. >> i know. >> i feel like i'm that much harder to get rid of because the guy who runs the show loves ally.
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>> they're not just messy and slobbery. they're a great stress reliever, and they do the most ridiculously cute things that make you stop in the middle of your stressful work day and just kind of take a breath. i think it's good for everyone in the office. >> you have stinky breath. >> that kweli is a good dog. our thanks to our friends at "the daily show" and the host of the show as well. that is it for tonight's broadcast, and now thanks to the miracle of television, matt lauer, savannah guthrie have a preview of what's coming up tomorrow morning on "today." >> all right, brian, thank you. coming up friday on "today," police digging up a driveway near detroit. is jimmy hoffa's body buried underneath. and we'll see if david goggins broke the guinness world record for pullups in our stu o studio. >> that's tomorrow morning on "today." next week here on "rock center," correspondent richard engle has the special story of lewis loftus.
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richard first met him on an awful battlefield in afghanistan. the two men have stayed in touch and now almost two years later, we get to see the struggles that this young veteran is going through. >> i used to be one of those guys that made fun of people with post trauma stress in, my mind, not to their face. i'd think what a sissy, you know, what a sissy. now i realize that it's a real thing. >> that will be among our stories next week on "rock center." for everyone who worked so hard to bring you tonight's broadcast, thanks for being with us. good night from new york. a mom on the run, wanted for using her child to do her dirty work. the alleged crime spree and where she could be now. roseanne's presidential campaign hits the bay area. the news is next. our science teacher helped us build it. ♪ now i'm a geologist at chevron, and i get to help science teachers.


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